Addressing any confusion that might arise after being notified about dense breasts, a nonprofit group has launched a new educational Web site, www.DenseBreast-info.org.
With a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions in addition to flowcharts and a printable checklist about patient risks, the site answers questions women and their healthcare providers may have regarding breast density. Containing separate data streams for women and health care providers, the site also features an illustrated round-up of screening technologies, links to risk models, and an interactive map displaying state-by-state legislation.
Breast density notification laws, which have been enacted in 22 states, require that information about breast density be provided to women in the letter they receive after their mammogram.
“Receiving a notification about dense breasts can leave a woman and her doctor with more questions than answers,” said DenseBreast-info’s executive director, JoAnn Pushkin, whose own experience with breast density led her to push successfully for introduction of New York’s breast density law. “As states passed laws about dense breast notification, it became clear that this is just the first step in an education process. Our nonprofit coalition developed this comprehensive new Web site to provide a single source of further education.”
Serving as the site’s chief scientific advisor is Wendie Berg, MD, PhD, a radiologist at Magee-Womens Hospital of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
“We are hoping that through this Web site, women will understand that if they have dense breasts, additional screening beyond a mammogram may be recommended,” said Berg. “We also want them to know that in most cases where extra testing is done, women are found not to have breast cancer. The Web site is meant to provide women and their care providers with the tools they need to choose the most appropriate screening, based on a woman’s breast density and other risk factors.”
Berg herself recently learned she had early-stage breast cancer, which was not detected on either her annual mammograms or by breast tomosynthesis. Family history and other risk factors prompted Berg to ask her doctor for a screening breast MRI, which found her breast cancer.
“Being a researcher and a radiologist gives you one perspective on dense breasts and being a woman with dense breasts gives you another,” said Berg. “My experience with breast cancer gave me the full picture and compelled me to make women’s education about breast density a top priority.”
The nonprofit organization’s Web site was developed by Pushkin, Berg, and Cindy Henke-Sarmento, a mammography technologist who led the initiative to introduce breast-density legislation in Colorado. For more information, visit www.DenseBreast-info.org.
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